Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin announced that Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai will replace Page as the CEO of the parent company Alphabet. Brin will also step down from his role as President of Alphabet. The duo said that Alphabet and Google no longer need two CEOs and a President. Page and Brin will remain board members and shareholders of Alphabet, and Pichai will be responsible and accountable for leading Google, and managing Alphabet’s investment in “Other Bets”, that is, other subsidiaries of Alphabet. Pichai will also remain a member of Alphabet’s Board of Directors.
“He [Pichai] shares our confidence in the value of the Alphabet structure, and the ability it provides us to tackle big challenges through technology. There is no one that we have relied on more since Alphabet was founded, and no better person to lead Google and Alphabet into the future.” — Page and Brin in an open letter
In an email sent to employees, Pichai emphasised that the change will have no impact on how Alphabet operates on a day-to-day basis. “I want to be clear that this transition won’t affect the Alphabet structure or the work we do day to day. I will continue to be very focused on Google and the deep work we’re doing to push the boundaries of computing and build a more helpful Google for everyone. At the same time, I’m excited about Alphabet and its long term focus on tackling big challenges through technology,” he said in the email.
Kara Swisher, co-founder of Recode, in a series of tweets said that while this might seem like a big move, it is “not as big a deal as it seems,” given that Page and Brin have essentially been away from public sight. She likened this move as Tim Cook’s appointment as Apple’s CEO, as a “super competent exec[utive] who is quieter and who faces tougher issues going forward”.
Page and Brin also hand over the reins to Pichai as sterner times for Big Tech lie ahead. Google is facing anti-trust probes in the US, EU, and India among other countries, and several employees have protested against the company for attempting to silence workers. Swisher said that if Pichai is to deal with these issues, “he has to be seen as fully in charge of the whole place”.